ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against fintech company Block Earner alleging it provided unlicensed financial services in relation to its crypto-asset based products and that it operated an unregistered managed investment scheme.
Block Earner offered a range of fixed-yield earning products based on crypto-assets under the names USD Earner, Gold Earner and Crypto Earner (collectively, the Earner Products).
ASIC alleges that the Earner Products were financial products that should have been licensed because the products were a managed investment scheme, a facility through which a person makes a financial investment, and/or a derivative.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘We are concerned that Block Earner offered financial products without appropriate registration or an Australian Financial Services licence, leaving consumers without important protections. Simply because a product hinges on a crypto-asset, does not mean it falls outside financial services law.’
‘ASIC is aware that many consumers are interested in purchasing or investing in crypto-assets. Crypto-assets are risky, inherently volatile and complex and ASIC remains concerned that potential investors in crypto-assets may not fully appreciate the risks involved. ASIC supports the development of an effective regulatory framework covering crypto-assets to protect consumers and investors.’
Top Australian Brokers
ASIC is seeking declarations, injunctions, and pecuniary penalties from the Court.
The date for the first case management hearing is yet to be scheduled by the Court.